Caits Meissner, a long time friend, and now Brunch & Budget client, took the leap from full time job to full time passion earlier this year (in fact, she joined us on a Bondfire show right when she was in the middle of transitioning!).
I am so excited and proud to share that she and her beautiful business are flourishing! She just launched a gorgeous new website this week, growfierce.com (those are my hands in the picture above!), is heading to Malaysia in a matter of days to teach her writing course and workshops to the public, and held 7 rounds of Digging Deep, Facing Self.
If you’ve been thinking about taking what you love and making it your career, below are 5 tips for how to take your own leap from full time job to full time passion:
1. Start while you’re at your job (also known as the side hustle)
One of the best ways to gauge when you’ll be ready to take the leap is to test out the waters while you’re still working a full time job. Brunch & Budget started as a weekends and evening things I offered to friends and friends of friends. Two years later, I’m taking the leap myself to do this full time. Caits ran 4 of her 6 Digging Deep courses while she was still working a full time job. If you really feel strongly about what you want to put into the world, start now!
Having a side hustle while having another job give you the opportunity to give it away for free or low cost at first, take time to do research and find mentors, test out different ways to present or offer your products or services, and find your niche and your audience, all without having to wonder where the next dollar is coming from.
2. Build a runway
When you feel like it’s getting to the point where your side hustle is consuming most of your free time and your brain space, it may be time to consider that it can’t be just your side hustle for much longer. Before you give your two weeks notice, figure out how much you need to pay for basic expenses and work backwards from there to determine how many clients you need to get each month, how many units of your product you need to sell, what other side gigs you can take on while you’re building up your base income, etc.
Start networking now with groups, organizations, and other professionals that cater to your niche audience. This way, when you’re ready to roll, you’ve built a safety net to catch you the first few months.
3. Get your finances in order before you jump
When we had Caits on the show, she confessed that she didn’t build up a savings cushion before she made the decision to quit her job. “I probably should have had a Brunch & Budget with you first,” she laughed. Of course it would be nice to have $10,000 in the bank, but that shouldn’t be a reason to necessarily stop you from going all in. There are other ways to have your finances in order.
What Caits did have, because spent time building her runway and her connections, is a good understanding of where her income was going to come from for the next several months. She had teaching gigs lined up, had a good idea of how many people would sign up for her courses, and had a general idea of her monthly expenses. When we met for a Brunch & Budget, we solidified a savings and spending plan and will monitor it on a regular basis to get her through potentially lean months and keep growing her business.
4. Find a way to get through the Black Hole of Doubt days
We recently had sci-fi author, Cerece Murphy, on the radio show and one of the things she said in the interview was to get used to doubting yourself every day. Am I doing the right thing? Is anyone even going to care? This is all total crap, isn’t it? I gave up my job for this? These feeling are normal and they are okay. On some level, they are even healthy because they propel you to always do more and do better.
Unless you let these feelings keep you from moving forward. I have had my own share of doubt spirals that have lingered for days. How do I get out of them? First, I acknowledge that it’s happening. Then I let myself be in that head space for a little bit. Next, I’ll find a way to let off some steam (going for a run, having dinner with a friend, eating an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s, etc.). And even after all that, if I’m still in that place of doubt, I pick a really easy thing on my to do list and just freaking do it.
Figure out how you find yourself out of these Black Holes of Doubt. It’s going to be different for everyone, but as long as you’re prepared for these thoughts to come when you least expect it, you’ll be able to make it out all right.
5. Start putting together your support system now
What I should have really said when I said, “First, I acknowledge that it’s happening,” is “first, I get really curt and short-tempered with my boyfriend and he sits me down and asks me what’s actually going on.” Then I burst into tears and he talks me off the ledge.
You might find that a lot of people who are close to you might be your Black Hole of Doubt. Mostly, friends and family will express concern because they care about you, but it doesn’t make it any easier to hear them wonder why you’re giving up a steady income to pursue something that has no guarantee. You’ve most likely already asked yourself this question a million times.
Before you make this transition, start surrounding yourself with at least a few people who understand what you’re going through and who you can turn to help get through those tough days. Join meetups for entrepreneurs, communities like Freelancers Union, and look into mentorship programs like the Ben Appelbaum Foundation (for NYC residents) to get support for your next big step and put yourself in environments that lift you up and encourage you to keep going.